Decision time is coming for the Texans and Deshaun Watson

USA TODAY Sports

For more than a month, Deshaun Watson and the Texans have awkwardly coexisted. Watson attends meetings, but he barely practices. One of the best players in the entire NFL, he continues to be the fourth-string quarterback on the Houston roster.

Nothing has happened to change that. By Tuesday, something likely will.

As the Texans reduce the roster from 80 players to 53, they’ll have to decide what to do with Watson. Here are the options.

1. Tell him it’s time to play.

They gave him a gigantic contract only 51 weeks ago. Yes, he has decided he doesn’t want to be a Texan since then. That doesn’t change the fact that the Texans can tell him that it’s time to earn that money, whether it be the $5.4 million in signing bonus money applicable to 2021 or the $10.54 million salary he’ll be paid this year. Apparently, even the inherently dysfunctional Texans realize that nothing good will come from playing hardball with Watson, if he truly doesn’t want to play.

2. Move him to injured reserve.

The Texans had seemed to be setting up a potential shift of Watson to short-term injured reserve (David Culley complicated that approach recently by declaring that Watson isn’t injured). It’s an option available for players who make it to the 53-man roster. So the Texans would keep Watson on the roster through Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET. They could then move him to IR, and then they could fill his spot with someone else. Under the 2021 IR rules, he could return to the active roster of the Texans (or potentially of another team) after three weeks.

3. Carry him on the 53-man roster.

The Texans could give Watson a roster spot and simply park him there with pay. But that would, as a practical matter, give the Texans a 52-man team.

4. Trade him.

No team will give the Texans their preferred return of three first-round picks and more, given the 22 pending civil lawsuits and, more importantly, 10 criminal complaints that could become an indictment, a prosecution, and potentially a conviction. If the Texans were to drop their price — or if (as we’ve suggested) cobble together a package of conditional picks tied to playing time in 2021, 2022, and possibly 2023 — maybe a deal could still be done.

Although G.M. Nick Caserio now runs the show in Houston (subject to whatever influence Jack Easterby has behind the scenes), this is an ownership-level call. Do the Texans want to pay Watson $10 million to not play this year? Do they prefer to continue to keep him on the team as the various legal proceedings play out? Is Cal McNair, as influenced by Easterby, morally and/or religiously opposed to employing Watson, given the allegations against him and the admission that, indeed, his habit of procuring massages from a wide array of therapists did at times include consensual sexual activities?

It’s unclear who would trade for him now, if the Texans decide to drop the three-first-rounders-and-more facade. The teams most commonly linked to Watson were the Eagles, Panthers, Broncos, and Dolphins. At this point, a deal would turn a depth chart on its head, sending shock waves through his new team and beyond. And if he’d land with a team other than one of those four, the move would drop jaws in every NFL city — particularly in Watson’s new one.

Whatever happens, something will finally happen on Tuesday. If not sooner.

19 responses to “Decision time is coming for the Texans and Deshaun Watson

  1. Make him the gunner on special teams. A few solid hits and being the QB will look real good.

    Or give him a toilet brush and have him scrub toilets if he isn’t going to QB

  2. Unclear who’d want him? Ravens put up a statue to a guy who wouldn’t come clean on a double homicide. Steelers love a QB mired in sexual assaults (and claims of a 3rd attempted one), Colts & Broncos adored a QB who shoved his junk in his trainer’s face…

  3. Management must wait to trade Watson until the civil suits and potential criminal liability play out. Beforehand, the Texans would get peanuts for him. Who trades more than a third-rounder for a guy who might end up in prison?

  4. nhpats2011 says:

    August 28, 2021 at 11:02 am

    Didn’t Watson clearly state that he would never play another down for the Texans?

    ———–
    And? Statements like that mean very little. Players also say its not about the money until it’s time to decide whether it’s about the money. It’s always easy to say you wont do something if you feel you have tons of other options, when you have no other options however you dont always feel that way.

  5. Is the practice squad an option? With the expanded Covid-19 rules a player can be placed on the practice squad and “be protected” from other teams. “Expansion of practice squads to 16 players, including up to six who have more than two accrued seasons. The ability to protect up to four practice squad players per week from being signed by other teams.”

  6. how many times have you seen a player get a huge contract and then become a cancer to his team? i.e. Michael Thomas, LeVeon Bell, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Mike Vick, OBJ, T.O. RGIII, etc.

  7. Love how the media drums up these stories with things that only makes sense to them. Watson is not getting traded right now period. The Texans and the NFL have done nothing because they don’t have to. The NFL is not going to put him on the CEL yet because they don’t have enough to determine if he’s committed anything wrong. The Texans can keep him on the roster until they receive an offer the “Texans” like, his talent and salary for 2021 is not going to make the Texans take a low ball offer. Plus Watson has a no trade clause. Once the criminal charges are announced (and they are coming), then you will see action from the league office.

  8. Texans have to trade him and have to get a QB in return that can play right away. What else can they get is hard to say. That is were the shrewd dealing will occur.

  9. thefootballdudesdave says:
    August 28, 2021 at 11:31 am
    Is the practice squad an option? With the expanded Covid-19 rules a player can be placed on the practice squad and “be protected” from other teams. “Expansion of practice squads to 16 players, including up to six who have more than two accrued seasons. The ability to protect up to four practice squad players per week from being signed by other teams.”
    —————————————————————————————-

    The practice squad is made up of players who did not make the 53 man squad. Therefore, Watson would have to be cut before he could be signed to the practice squad.

  10. Take the best trade offer even if it’s just draft picks. A first, second, third or fourth round draft pick could all become all pros and they are AVAILABLE to play. Availability is the key.

  11. Playing him isn’t a realistic option considering how much time he’s missed and the fact that this is a new offense. I really doubt he’s been working to learn the playbook.

  12. beachsidejames says:
    August 28, 2021 at 12:18 pm
    Texans have to trade him and have to get a QB in return that can play right away. What else can they get is hard to say. That is were the shrewd dealing will occur.

    ——-

    They could trade him to the Dolphins for Tua and picks

  13. whostolemyxanax says:
    August 28, 2021 at 4:26 pm
    Playing him isn’t a realistic option considering how much time he’s missed and the fact that this is a new offense. I really doubt he’s been working to learn the playbook.
    ————————————————————————————————-
    It’s the same offensive coordinator as the previous two seasons. Please tell us all how Watson struggled with the playbook during that time. Did he struggle last season with no preseason? Do you even watch football?

  14. Trying to play him would force the NFL to actually declare if he’s suspended or not. Assuming they let him play that would improve the odds of a trade because every trade partner must be scared that he’s effectively already suspended even now but the NFL just hasn’t had to confirm that yet. And burying him on the depth chart is a sign the Texans are scared of the answer to that question, too.

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